What is the origin of hyper pop?
Although hyperpop as a name of the genre only became a recognized term in 2019, it has seeped into the pop stratosphere since the early 2010s. Many trace its sound to the influence of PC Music , a London-based record label and arts collective founded by an English producer. AG Cook, which allowed the rise of the late electro pop power Sophia, pre-pop superstar Charli XCX, blog favorites QT and Hannah Diamond, and others. With many PC Music artists inspired by cyberculture and making bright, synthetic and hyper-feminine pop, the label was groundbreaking in its early days – inspiring many music blogs – but its legacy has only recently been fully realized. . Today, many arty and pop artists in the hyperpop scene refer to PC Music as one of their influences, and some artists from the movement like Charli XCX have adopted the term or contributed to the conversation around him.
While there’s undeniably a connection to PC Music, there was also a moment in 2019 where hyperpop seemingly appeared from the ether, as if arriving from an AI time machine from the future. . That’s when St. Louis-based duo 100 gecs, made up of producers Laura Les and Dylan Brady, started posting their music on Spotify, and through the power of the algorithm, people were discovering it, having conversations. on what the fuck is a “gec” and whether the project was serious or not, but fond of electronic ridicule, it doesn’t matter.
“When the album 100 Gecs [1000 Gecs] came out in 2019, it definitely had elements that reminded you of SOPHIE and AG Cook, but sounded completely different,” says Szabo, who knew Brady and Les as producers at the time, but hadn’t heard their own music. and was curious about all the “underground momentum, especially with the artists” around their early days, she says they first put the band on Spotify Fresh finds playlist, his hub for independent and experimental artists, “but we didn’t really feel like we had the perfect place to celebrate what was happening.”
Ultimately, this led to the codification of hyperpop. “We started looking in our backend to see if there was anything else going on with it. Like, who are the collaborators? Who else worked on this project? Who else do Dylan and Laura love? Through a mix of research and metadata review in the backend, one of our data scientists, Glenn McDonald, who assigns subgenre names to new sounds, assigned ‘hyperpop,'” Szabo explains. I feel like the name couldn’t have been more apt, the Spotify team put together a list of similar artists, developed a glitchy piece of artwork to use as their cover image, and kicked off the playlist in August 2019, just a few months after the release of 100 gecs in May 2019.
The playlist had its first big moment when Charli XCX hit the cover in Spring 2020, which she shared on social media. Szabo says, “From there, the playlist really started to take off and, of course, [led to] so many conversations online with, ‘What is hyperpop? Where does this term come from? Do we [as artists] do you want to be associated? Is it glitchcore? Does he have a name? Where are the origins? Where is the conversation going? ‘”
In that early discourse, memes abounded (very online artists calling it “hyperpoo” were very prominent), but that ultimately only made hyperpop even more centralized. “We could see conversations happening in real time, pay attention to them, and be part of them by reflecting what was happening online in the playlist,” says Szabo. “Whether it was a new artist that the scene seemed to be supporting, or if there was a particular silly comeback like ‘Like a G6’ that people were joking about, and use those clues to join the conversation online and show artists that we see them. Really, at the end of the day, our goal was just to provide a space on our platform for these artists to thrive and feel like they didn’t need to conform or make a sound that people had heard.